American League East rivals clash at Camden Yards this afternoon as the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays close out a three- game set.
The teams have split the first two contests in the series, with Baltimore blanking the Rays on Friday, 7-0, before the visitors bounced back with a 7-5 triumph of their own Saturday night in 11 innings.
Evan Longoria played the hero for the visitors last night as he singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th, finishing the meeting with three hits and three RBI. Ben Zobrist contributed three doubles and a triple along with four runs scored while Casey Kotchman added four hits and two RBI for the Rays, who have won four of five and are now four games out of first in the division.
"I think that we've learned over the past several years is that games like this are what get you in the playoffs," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. "It's part of our culture in this club now."
Juan Cruz was awarded the win for getting the final two outs of the 10th inning, while Kyle Farnsworth worked the final frame to pick up his 14th save of the campaign. Starter David Price went six innings and was charged with four runs on eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
Jeremy Accardo was tagged with the loss for giving up two runs in the final inning for the Orioles, who had a four-game winning streak stopped and now find themselves seven games out in the standings. Jeremy Guthrie went six innings in the start and gave up three runs on eight hits.
Mark Reynolds belted both a two-run homer and a solo shot for the hosts, while Matt Wieters finished 3-for-4 with a run scored in the setback.
"You have to credit their guys cause they came up with the hits when they needed them," said Reynolds. "But this was a tough loss to take. All we can do is come back tomorrow and try to take the series."
Ready to take the mound against the Orioles for the fourth time already this season is Wade Davis. The right-hander, who is 1-2 this year and 4-3 in his career versus Baltimore, has gone winless now for more than a month with the Rays falling in his last five appearances.
Davis last threw a week ago when he allowed five runs on five hits, walking one and striking out four over the course of seven innings in a 9-6 loss to Seattle on the road.
Meanwhile, Brian Matusz has been penciled in as the starter for the Orioles this time around. Sporting a 3-1 career mark against Tampa Bay to go along with a 4.71 ERA in five all-time appearances, the left-hander is making just his third appearance at the major league level this season.
On Monday the Colorado native earned his first win by permitting just two runs on seven hits and a couple of walks, while striking out three through 5 1/3 innings in a 4-2 win over Oakland.
Despite the loss last night, the O's still maintain a slight advantage in the season series against Tampa Bay at 6-5. However, in the previous three seasons Baltimore has been beaten and bruised by the Rays who won 36 of the 54 meetings during that stretch.